In a bid to foster access to justice and empower individuals affected by abandonment, desertion, and domestic violence, the Rule of Law and Empowerment Initiative, also known as Partners West Africa Nigeria, recently concluded a remarkable media appearance on selected radio stations in Kaduna and Niger States. The one-hour radio event featured distinguished legal professionals and members of their Mixed Observers Team. The initiative aimed to shed light on “What and What to Do” when facing issues of abandonment, desertion, and domestic violence.
Understanding the issues
The professionals opened the session by explaining in clear terms that abandonment, desertion, and domestic violence are grave challenges that many individuals face within our communities. These issues can have devastating physical, emotional, and psychological consequences, leaving survivors feeling helpless and isolated. Recognising and addressing these problems is crucial to building a just and inclusive society.
Abandonment: This occurs when a spouse or partner leaves their family or home without any explanation or support, leaving those who depend on them vulnerable and uncertain. It often results in financial hardship and emotional distress for the abandoned individuals and their children.
Desertion: This is a similar concept to abandonment but often carries legal implications. It is when one spouse or partner leaves home without the other’s consent. Desertion can lead to legal disputes over property rights, child custody, and financial support.
Domestic Violence: Domestic violence encompasses physical, emotional, psychological, and economic abuse within intimate relationships. It is a pervasive issue that affects individuals of all backgrounds and can have severe consequences, including physical injuries, mental health problems, and even death.
“What and What to Do”
PWAN recognises the importance of educating the public about these issues and equipping them with the knowledge to seek justice. The one-hour radio appearance featured prominent lawyers from Kaduna State and Niger. The discussion revolved around three critical aspects:
Understanding the Issues: The first part of the programme focused on providing listeners with a comprehensive understanding of abandonment, desertion, and domestic violence. The lawyers shared insights into the legal definitions of these terms, common scenarios, and the rights of the affected parties. The segment aimed to empower individuals with knowledge about their legal rights and options.
Seeking Legal Recourse: The second part of the programme delved into what individuals can do when faced with abandonment, desertion, or domestic violence. The lawyers discussed the legal remedies available. They also highlighted the importance of documenting incidents, seeking assistance from PWAN, and not promoting the culture of silence.
A phone-in Q&A session: Listeners from the selected states phoned in to seek legal advice, and the team of legal professionals answered each question and provided solutions as per the question raised.
One of the speakers, Barr. Safurat Abdul Kareem, urged citizens to be law-abiding.
“As little as emotional abuse is being taken care of by the VAAP Law,” she said during the radio awareness programme.
The Rule of Law and Empowerment Initiative’s media appearance empowered communities in Kaduna and Niger States. By disseminating knowledge and highlighting available legal avenues, the initiative always sets out to:
- Increase awareness about abandonment, desertion, and domestic violence, thereby reducing the stigma associated with these issues.
- Educate individuals on recognising early warning signs and seeking help before situations escalate.
- Encourage survivors to seek justice for their suffering through legal means. PWAN offers pro-bono lawyers without requiring a prior personal connection.
- Connect individuals with support services throughout the process that can offer emotional, legal, and financial assistance.
The recent radio appearance by the Rule of Law and Empowerment Initiative takes a significant step towards building a society where access to justice is a reality for all. Empowering communities with knowledge and resources is the first step in the journey towards a safer and more just society.